This is the fourth of eleven posts on Istanbul. Check out our other posts here:
- Introduction to Istanbul
- 4 Nights at the Magnificent Park Hyatt Istanbul
- Hagia Sophia: Church, Mosque, and Now Museum
- Cheap Eats in Istanbul!
- Istanbul’s Magnificent Mosques
- Turkish Food is Quite a Delight!
- Suleymaniye Hamami: A Mixed Gender Turkish Bath
- Shopping at the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar in Istanbul
- Istanbul’s Other Sights: The Topkapi Palace & Basilica Cistern
- Crossing the Bosphorous Strait: A Day Trip from Europe to Asia
- Lounge Deathmatch: Turkish Airlines vs. Cathay Pacific
When I started researching the food in Istanbul, I was overwhelmed by all the different types of Turkish food of which I was unaware. Turkish food is so much more than just kebabs. Mr. Selfish and I knew that we had to try as much Turkish cuisine as possible.
This post will outline some of the cheap eats we had in Istanbul. Mr. Selfish and I sampled as much as possible from the street vendors and more economical restaurants.
Red and White Carts: Give Me Pastries!
The first thing I noted was the abundance of pastries available from street vendors in Istanbul. I loved seeing those little red and white carts, because I knew a tasty treat was in store for me.
We especially loved simits, which are circular bread covered with sesame seeds. The sweet donut-like treats weren’t too shabby either. Each treat cost about 1 TL, which is about $.48 USD.
Sultanahmet Köftecisi: Touristy but Delicious!
While near the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque, we ate at Sultanahmet Köftecisi (Divanyolu Caddesi 12, Sultanahmet) for the amazing köfte, which is minced lamb meatballs.
The menu is pretty basic. A portion of köfte costs 14 TL or $6.40 USD, and you can get them with salad, soup, or pilaf. We opted for the lentil soup and pilaf, both of which were 9 TL or ~$4.31 USD.
The köfte were cooked perfectly. They were flavorful and moist. Since having these perfect köfte, Mr. Selfish and I have attempted to recreate them in SF. We’ve found this recipe to be pretty tasty.
Galata Bridge: Try the Balık Ekmek Off of the Boats
Several friends told us that we had to try the balık ekmek (fish in bread) off of the boats docked near the Galata Bridge.
We opted for one of the less crowded boats (although truthfully, they were all packed) and ordered one sandwich for 6 TL ($2.87 USD). The sandwich comes with lettuce and raw onions. You can add salt and lemon juice as necessary.
It was pretty tasty, and I must say quite cheap!
Wandering Around the Streets: Pides
Mr. Selfish and I enjoyed the shopping streets in the Old City district of Istanbul. While we didn’t buy much, we did sample some delicious pides, which are yummy flatbreads.
The pide only costs 6.5 TL each ($3.11 USD). Now that’s a cheap lunch!
Borsam Tasfirin: For Yummy Lahmacuns
While on the Asian side of Istanbul, Mr. Selfish and I visited a chain called Borsam Tasfirin (the one we visited was located at Caferağa Mh. 34710 Kadıköy). They are renowned for their delicious lahmacuns, which are basically pizzas topped with minced meat.
After the lahmacuns are baked, you can add lemon juice and fresh herbs. Then, you roll them up and feast away.
You can’t beat this yummy snack for only 3 TL or $1.44 USD.
Pomegranate Juice: Delicious and Cheap!
I had never had fresh pomegranate juice prior to this trip to Istanbul, so I didn’t know that I was missing out all this time. The vendors sold fresh juice, which was squeezed right before your very eyes, for 1-3 TL per glass depending on the size.
Now, I find myself craving pomegranate juice.
Roasted Chestnuts: A Delightful Snack
Finally, there were vendors all over Istanbul selling roasted chestnuts. The best advertisement for chestnuts is certainly the aroma of them roasting away.
Although Mr. Selfish is not usually a big fan of chestnuts, even he enjoyed the perfectly roasted ones in Istanbul.
And those were some of the cheap eats we enjoyed while in Istanbul. Next up is Mr. Selfish’s post on the mosques we visited during our short stay.